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Interactive Alignment of Multisyllabic Stress Patterns in a Second Language Classroom



The current study explored the occurrence of stress pattern alignment during peer interaction in a second language (L2) classroom. Interactive alignment is a sociocognitive phenomenon in which interlocutors reuse each other's expressions, structures, and pronunciation patterns during conversation. Students (= 41) enrolled in a university-level English for academic purposes class completed four collaborative tasks during a 13-week semester. The collaborative tasks were information-exchange quizzes that were seeded with multisyllabic words containing 3-2 (e.g., consístent) and 4-2 (e.g., intélligent) stress patterns (i.e., three- and four-syllable words with the stress on the second syllable). Transcripts were analyzed for alignment, which was operationalized as higher accuracy rates in discourse contexts where an interlocutor previously produced an accurate target stress. The results indicate that alignment occurred when students carried out all four collaborative tasks. Implications are discussed in terms of the potential role of alignment activities in helping L2 speakers practice pronunciation.